Angel Delgado is ready to pick up where he left off, 'make history' at Seton Hall | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / February 22.
  • Angel Delgado is ready to pick up where he left off, ‘make history’ at Seton Hall

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    By DENNIS CHAMBERS

    NEW YORKAngel Delgado claims he called his head coach, Kevin Willard, first this summer when he came to a final decision about his basketball career.

    Willard doesn’t buy that, though.

    “I think he told his girlfriend first,” Willard said at Big East Media day. “Because his girlfriend called me and told me.”

    While the succession of phone calls and who heard the news first may be up for debate, the message everyone received was abundantly clear.

    Delgado, the 6-foot-10 rebounding machine, was coming back to Seton Hall for his senior season.

    “He spoke a lot of Spanish,” Willard said of the phone call. “He was speaking really fast. I speak a little Spanish with him. He just said I’m coming back, and I said I want you to make sure it was your decision and you’re good with your decision. Now that you’re coming back let’s get to work and do what we have to do to improve your draft stock.”

    That’s the theme of the Pirates’ upcoming season: work.

    After two straight NCAA Tournament appearances that ended without a win for Seton Hall, their trio of 1,000 point scoring seniors is back for their last hoorah, hoping to make one final dent on their college legacies.

    “They’re more than my brothers,” Delgado said of teammates Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez. “I think we’re going to be brothers not only in school, I think we’re gonna be brothers our whole life. I wanna make history with them, I wanna finish with them, I want to walk on the stage when we get our degrees together. That’s something I’m never gonna forget in my whole life. I’m really excited to be with these guys for another year.”

    Seton Hall boasts the only trifecta of career 1,000 point scorers in the entire country. In the college basketball world of one-and-done’s the Pirates have a unique presence of experience. Delgado didn’t want to pass up on being a part of the core that has turned Seton Hall into a national contender. But for as great as Delgado, Carrington, Rodriguez, and Ismael Sanogo have been for the Pirates, a loss to Arkansas last March in the NCAA Tournament left everyone feeling like there was more work to be done.

    For the Dominican Republic native, he’s putting that game in his rearview and focusing on his last season in college.

    “I been over it,” Delgado said. “I don’t even remember that. I’m the type of player that once something happens in that moment, it’s in that moment. The next day is a new day and a new beginning. This year is a new year and I’m focusing on this year.”

    The intriguing situation of returning to school wasn’t always a slam dunk for Delgado, despite what he says. Willard acknowledged that the school was “pretty close” to losing their star center. After spending time in the pre-draft process gathering information about where Delgado projected in the NBA and the draft itself, making an educated decision was the move everyone involved opted for.

    “We were pretty close,” Willard said. “If he could’ve got drafted in the low 40’s we would’ve went because you’re pretty guaranteed a two-year first round contract now, those guys are. But that’s not where he was projected, it was late 50’s. Which now you’re really running the gamut. It was an educated decision. It wasn’t just ‘well, I wanna do it.’”

    Coming back to school for another year doesn’t just allow Delgado to secure a college degree, something he and his senior teammates explained was important to all of them. Another year of averaging double-double numbers also provides Delgado an opportunity to raise his draft stock.

    “Everything that I got back to him from general managers, from the draft advisory process was, we just want to see it again,” Willard said. “We like what we see, but we want to make sure this is something we’re gonna get on a daily basis. It wasn’t like, hey you have to start shooting three’s. It wasn’t like that. We wanna see it again, and if he does it again, we’re gonna take him in a heartbeat.”

    Despite being advised to just go out there and replicate his junior season, Delgado put in serious work over the summer to help develop more of a jump shot. As the NBA game begins to transition more into a league where a big man can bang bodies inside, but also step out and effectively hit jumpers, Delgado knows he has to add that to his repertoire.

    “I want to be able to shoot outside a lot more,” Delgado said. “I think in practice I’m doing really good. I worked the whole summer on that. My dual handle, my footwork, all of that. I worked really hard all summer, so right now it’s showing off.”

    As Delgado’s point guard, Carrington’s eyes light up at the possibility of being able to run a pick-and-pop with his big man. Noting that he’ll definitely see a spike in his assist numbers if Delgado can start knocking down shots from outside the paint.

    “I think if he gets that in his game, he’s gonna be unstoppable,” Carrington said.

    Even though the hype is surrounding Seton Hall this season, from the hoard of reporters that flocked to their table at media day, to the preseason top-25 rankings across the board, Delgado knows there’s still plenty of work left to do for this season to be considered a success.

    “Right now, right now, right now, our major goal is to get better,” Delgado said. “I don’t think we’re that good yet. Our main goal right now, I’m not thinking about winning the Big East, I’m thinking about getting better as a team and get better as a player too.”

     

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